Cost of living - updates: Millions of households to receive £301 payment from next week (2023)

Key points
  • Millions of households set to receive £301 cost of living payment from next week
  • HSBC offers £200 to switch current accounts from today
  • Summer music festival cancelled due to 'rising costs
  • It's a new tax year - and there are changes to benefits, pensions and student loans
  • Tips from the Budgeting Mum:Is a heated airer worth it?
  • Live reporting by Lucia Binding


Energy suppliers to ban forced prepay meter installations in homes of over-85s - report

Energy suppliers have agreed to ban the installation of mandatory pre-payment meters in the homes of customers aged over 85 - and makerepresentatives wear body cameras, The Guardian is reporting.

The suppliers agreed on a new code of practice regarding the installation of prepayment meters for customers who have accumulated an energy debt.

As a result, they now have to make at least 10 attempts to contact a customer - and do a "wellness visit"before installing a prepaid meter.

Customers who are forced to use a prepaid meter, either physically or by switching their remote meter to prepaid mode, will initially receive a £30 credit to reduce the risk of having their supply cut off immediately, the publication reported.

The measure is a response to a winter scandal involving the installation of prepaid meters with a widely accepted certificate of entry.

The forced installations were later banned after The Times reported that British Gas debt service providers ignored signs that customers were vulnerable and installed meters that could lead to regular cuts to customers' electricity and heating networks.


Is crypto back?

Cryptocurrencies have rallied this year with the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum almost doubling since early January, but it remains a tough environment for crypto exchanges.

Since the collapse of FTX in November, the market leader Binance is currently being sued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission amid allegations it has been operating illegally in the US, while its rival Coinbase recently announced it is to cut a fifth of its workforce - and it reached a $100m (£80m) settlement with New York regulators over anti-money laundering failures.

In the clip below, Coinbase boss Brian Armstrong tells Sky News' Ian King why he's excited about crypto's future after last year's collapse of confidence.

"We have seen a resurgence in interest in crypto, as you mentioned," he said.

"I think, you know, Bitcoin's up almost 71% year to date, which is good. And perhaps the most exciting thing about it, though, is that we're still seeing a lot of developer activity.

"That, to me, is the most exciting thing because trading is a big use case for crypto, but the potential of it is much bigger than that. It's really a technology to update the financial system in all in all aspects."

Watch the full interview below...


Borrowed a book from the library in 1996 and forgot to return it? We've got some good news for you...

...if you live in Islington, north London.

The council there has scrapped all library fines for late returns in a bid to help those struggling with the cost of living.

Islington Council, in north London, says the fines discourage people from borrowing books.

It has introduced a fines amnesty to encourage users to return very overdue books.

It is the first time fines have been dropped since they were enforced in 1905 when public libraries were established in the borough.

Previously, users aged between 18 and 60 years old were charged fines for books, audiobooks and music CDs at a rate of 17p per item per day overdue, with a maximum charge per item set at £7.65.


Allotment owner whose plot was sabotaged with salt 'wants to support' vandals

The founder of an allotment which went viral on social media after it was sabotaged with salt has said she wants to do "everything I can to support" the vandals.

Officers from Essex Police opened an investigation to find the culprits and have asked anyone with information to come forward.

Carly Burd created the A Meal On Me With Love initiative, which grows and distributes fresh fruits, vegetables, and other essentials to those on benefits and low incomes and pensioners.

Ms Burd claims she has handed out food parcels to more than 1,600 people during the cost of living crisis, and said the recent ordeal has been "heart-wrenching".

She said: "I've never felt such hate. I get on with everyone in my community."

But she added: "I want to say to whoever did it, I’m here if you want to talk to me. No aggression intended, that's not my style.

"It won't leave my lips and it won’t go out to anyone, but come and talk to me.

"I'm not a threat to anyone – I'll be there and support you and I'll do everything I can to support you."


Education maintenance allowance payments to rise to £40 per week in Wales

The Welsh government has announced that young people will see an increase in education maintenance allowance payments from this month.

Known as EMA, the payment will increase from £30 per week to £40 for eligible further education students in sixth form or college.

EMA is a weekly grant designed to support young people between the aged of 16 and 18 from low-income households with further education costs, such as meals or transport.

Jeremey Miles, the minister for education and Welsh language, said the rise would be a commitment for the next two academic years while a comprehensive review into EMA is conducted.

Some 16,000 students in Wales currently receive the grant, which is paid every two weeks.


Madrid may be the latest Spanish city to introduce controversial tourist tax

Spain's capital could become the latest holiday hotspot to implement a controversial tourist tax.

Former tourism minister Reyes Maroto, who is running to become mayor of Madrid, has sparked controversy by suggesting she would consider introducing a tourist tax if elected, which has angered hoteliers.

It comes after several regions of Spain - including Barcelona and the Balearic Islands, which attract millions of holidaymakers every year - have already introduced tourism tax which sees travellers pay up to €4 per night during their stay.

The additional charges are seen as a way of raising more capital for those regions, but hoteliers are strongly against the tax which they claim could discourage holidaymakers concerned about their budgets.


HSBC offers £200 to switch current accounts from today

HSBC UK has launched a new £200 current account switching offer and is boosting some savings rates in a bid to attract more customers.

The switching offer is available on the bank's Advance or Premier Bank Account for people using the Current Account Switch Service (Cass).

The £200 switching deal is being offered from today - with no end date currently set.

Customers must complete a full switch of their existing current account using Cass, with at least two direct debits or standing orders, to get the cash. And they must start the switch within 30 days of opening their new account.

They must also deposit at least £1,500 into the new account within 60 days of opening their new account.

Customers will not qualify for the offer if they have held an HSBC UK current account since 1 January 2020 or have opened a First Direct current account since 1 January 2020. They may hold a First Direct account if it was opened before 1 January 2020.

The £200 will be paid within 20 days of the terms being satisfied.

It comes as several increases to HSBC's savings rates are coming into effect from 20 April, including a 0.25 percentage point increase on the bank's Online Bonus Saver instant access account, rising to 3.50%, on the first £10,000 saved.

The bank's One Year Fixed Rate Savings Account rate increased by 0.50 percentage points to 4.00% from 30 March.


M&Co to shut down 43 stores by end of April

Scottish retailer M&Co is to shut a further 43 stores this month following its collapse into administration at the end of last year.

Retail Gazette reports the company is in the process of closing down all of its 170 stores, which it aims to have completed by this spring.

M&Co has been selling its items with at least 50% discount as part of its closing down sale in a bid to shift remaining stock.

A notice on the retailer'swebsite, which has ceased trading, reads: "M&Co online is no longer trading. AK Retail has acquired the M&Co brand, with plans to relaunch the web platform in the coming months.

"Some of our stores will remain open to shop for a limited time, with EVERYTHING AT LEAST 50% OFF. To check if your nearest store is still open visit M&Co Store Locator.

"Thank you to all our customers from the whole team at M&Co."

AK Retail Holdings snapped up the brand and intellectual property of M&Co in February – with the deal not including its physical store estate.



UK economy: Why no growth is a problem

The UK economy flatlined in February, with no growth in GDP, according to official figures. Business correspondent Gurpreet Narwan explains why this is a problem...


Cost of living - updates: Millions of households to receive £301 payment from next week? ›

Cost of living - updates: Millions of households to receive £301 payment from next week. Millions of households are to receive a £301 cost of living payment as part of the government's £900 support package for those on means-tested benefits - from next week. Listen to the latest Ian King business podcast as you scroll.

Will mortgages go up? ›

Mortgage rates can vary greatly depending on the type of loan, the lender, and the current market conditions. As it stands, you'll likely see increases in mortgage payments in 2023 – whether you're refinancing to a new deal or defaulting to your bank's standard variable rate (SVR) - because interest rates have gone up.

What are the mortgage rates in the UK in 2023? ›

What are the current interest rates for mortgages? On 5 April 2023: The average two-year fixed-rate mortgage rate in the UK is 5.39% (based on 75% LTV) The average five-year fixed-rate mortgage rate in the UK is 4.80% (based on 75% LTV)

Are mortgage rates going down UK? ›

UK mortgage rates have fallen since last year and will slowly return to pre-pandemic levels, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Economists said low productivity and an ageing population means that low inflation and weak growth will soon return, forcing central banks to cut interest rates once more.

What is the base rate prediction for the UK? ›

The Bank of England will cut the base rate to 3 per cent by the end of next year and then 2.5 per cent by the end of 2025, according to forecasts. That would be a substantial decline from the current 4.25 per cent but would still represent rates rising like a rocket and falling like a feather.

How high will interest rates go in 2023? ›

Federal Reserve Board members and Federal Reserve Bank presidents predict the federal funds rate will reach between 3.9% and 4.9% in 2023. This forecast gives us a great deal of insight into what savings interest rates may look like as the year proceeds.

Will interest rates go down in 2023? ›

The mortgage interest rate forecast for April 2023 is for lower rates, as long as investors continue to move money into Treasury bonds over concerns caused by a series of recent bank closures.

What are mortgage rates expected to be in 2023? ›

Current Refinance Rates for April 2023

30-year fixed: 7.12% 15-year fixed: 6.27% 30-year jumbo: 7.25%

Will mortgage rates go down 2024? ›

The predictions made by the various analysts and banks provide insight into what the financial markets anticipate for interest rates over the next few years. Based on recent data, Trading Economics predicts a rise to 5% in 2023 before falling back down to 4.25% in 2024 and 3.25% in 2025.

What will mortgage rates be in 2025? ›

Beyond this year, the group expects mortgage rates to average 4.4% in both 2024 and 2025. Bank of America: Researchers at the investment bank expect mortgage rates to fall to 5.25% by the end of 2023.

Is it wise to fix mortgage for 5 years? ›

A 5-year fixed-rate mortgage is a pretty good bet if you don't want to lock yourself into a deal for years and years but you still want certainty for longer than your standard 2-year deal.

What will interest rates be in 5 years? ›

They provide insight into interest rate forecasts over 5 years. An interest rate forecast by Trading Economics, as of 2 March, predicted that the Fed Funds Rate could hit 5% in 2023, before falling back to 4.25% in 2024 and 3.25% in 2025.

How high will interest rates go? ›

According to site Money to the Masses, interest rates could rise as high as 4.6 per cent by August 2023, before slowly falling over the next five years to three per cent. The market's predictions are now worse than they were back in February for the figure that interest could peak at.

What will mortgage rates be in fall 2023? ›

Fannie Mae sees the average rate of a 30-year fixed getting to 6.8% in 2023. Meanwhile, the prediction from Freddie Mac is 6.4%. The Mortgage Bankers Association is the real outlier, projecting the 30-year rate at 5.2% next year.

Will mortgage rates go down in 2023 or 2024? ›

The average interest rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage reached 7.08%, as of Monday. However, with the economy expected to cool and possibly dip into a recession, many recent forecasts expect rates to drop to 6% or below in 2024, including a Fannie Mae projection of 5.2%.

What will mortgage rates be in April 2023? ›

Mortgage rates today: Friday, April 14, 2023

On Friday, April 14, 2023, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped 26 basis points to 6.464% APR.

Which bank gives 6% interest in savings account? ›

Best 6% Interest Savings Accounts
U.S. Bank Standard Savings$100May 2, 2023
Discover Online Savings Accountup to $200June 15, 2023
Jan 23, 2023

What will interest rates be in 2023 and 2024? ›

The Fed penciled in a 5-5.25 percent peak interest rate for 2023, after which officials see rates falling to 4.25-4.5 percent by the end of 2024.

Will CD rates go up in 2023? ›

The first hike of 2023 — announced Feb. 1 — raised the rate to a range of 4.50% to 4.75%, which is the highest it's been in 15 years. As for other factors, banks and lenders add their own interest, and will generally move CD yields in the same direction as the Federal Reserve.

When can we expect interest rates to drop? ›

When Will Interest Rates Go Down? First, we expect the Fed to pause its rate hikes by summer 2023. Then starting around the end of 2023, we expect the Fed to begin cutting the federal-funds rate.

Should I lock in my interest rate today? ›

Locking in early can help you get what you were budgeting for from the start. As long as you close before your rate lock expires, any increase in rates won't affect you. The ideal time to lock your mortgage rate is when interest rates are at their lowest, but this is hard to predict — even for the experts.

Will my mortgage payment go up in 2023? ›

What does this mean for homebuyers this year? Mortgage rates are likely to decrease slightly in 2023, although they're highly unlikely to return to the rock-bottom levels of 2020 and 2021. However, rate volatility may continue for some time.

Will mortgage rates go down to 3 percent? ›

Rates won't drop to 3%

After roughly two years of record-low mortgage rates, the 30-year rate last year increased at their fastest clip in over 50 years. Most of the rate hikes were due to the Federal Reserve's zealous fight against rampant consumer price growth.

Will mortgage rates go down by May 2023? ›

However, the good news for homeowners is that mortgage rates are projected to fall next year, according to Fratantoni. According to MBA, mortgage rates will conclude in 2023 at roughly 5.4%.

Will 2024 be a better time to buy a house? ›

With mortgage rates declining faster than expected, home prices are likely to remain mostly flat throughout 2024. This will be good news for buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines for a good time to enter the market.

How high will interest rates go in 2024? ›

Policymakers expect their interest-rate hikes to push the unemployment rate, now at 3.6%, to 4.5% in the last quarter of 2023, and to 4.6% in 2024.

What is the highest mortgage rate in history? ›

What were the highest mortgage rates in history? October 1981 saw 30-year FRM mortgage rates hit their historical peak at 18.45%.

How high will 30-year mortgage rates go in 2023? ›

While it expects the Fed to continue increasing rates to tame inflation, it believes that long-term rates have already peaked. “We expect that 30-year mortgage rates will end 2023 at 5.2%,” the organization noted in its forecast commentary. It reiterated the fourth-quarter 5.2% rate prediction in a Jan. 19 forecast.

What is a good home rate? ›

A “good” mortgage rate is different for everyone. In today's market, a good rate could be 6% for one borrower and 8% for another on the same day. To understand what a good mortgage rate looks like for you, get quotes from a few different lenders and compare them.

Do 90% of homeowners still choose a 30-year fixed mortgage? ›

About 90 percent of homeowners who have a mortgage choose the 30-year FRM, according to data from NAR's Homebuyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report that was released in August. The 30-year FRM was adopted by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in the 1950s to counter actions taken by the Federal Reserve.

Why is a 15 year mortgage not a good idea? ›

Less Money Going to Savings

The higher payment requires higher cash reserves—as much as one year's worth of income in liquid savings. Also, the higher monthly payment means a borrower may forgo the opportunity to build up savings or save for goals such as college tuition for a child or retirement.

What is the average life of a mortgage? ›

The most common mortgage term in the U.S. is 30 years. A 30-year mortgage gives the borrower 30 years to pay back their loan. Most people with this type of mortgage won't keep the original loan for 30 years. In fact, the typical mortgage length, or average lifespan of a mortgage, is under 10 years.

How high is the prime rate expected to go? ›

US Prime Rate Forecast is at 5.75%, compared to 5.75% last quarter and 5.75% last year.

How many times can I refinance my house? ›

How Many Times Can I Refinance My Mortgage? There's no legal limit on the number of times you can refinance your home loan. However, mortgage lenders do have a few mortgage refinance requirements that need to be met each time you apply, and there are some special considerations to note if you want a cash-out refinance.

What interest rate will double your money in 5 years? ›

For example if you wanted to double an investment in 5 years, divide 72 by 5 to learn that you'll need to earn 14.4% interest annually on your investment for 5 years: 14.4 × 5 = 72. The Rule of 72 is a simplified version of the more involved compound interest calculation.

How much longer will interest rates continue to rise? ›

Mortgage rates may continue to rise in 2023. High inflation, a strong housing market, and policy changes by the Federal Reserve have all pushed rates higher in 2022. However, if the U.S. does indeed enter a recession, mortgage rates could come down. What is the lowest mortgage rate right now?

How long will interest rates stay up? ›

After home financing costs nearly doubled in 2022, some relief is in sight for potential homebuyers in 2023. The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the U.S. is expected to drop to 5.25% by the end of this year, according to a forecast by the financial services website Bankrate.

What are interest rates today? ›

Current mortgage and refinance interest rates
ProductInterest RateAPR
20-Year Fixed Rate6.91%6.94%
15-Year Fixed Rate6.20%6.23%
10-Year Fixed Rate6.34%6.37%
5-1 ARM5.65%7.23%
5 more rows

How high will mortgage rates realistically go? ›

The average interest rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage reached 7.08%, as of Monday. However, with the economy expected to cool and possibly dip into a recession, many recent forecasts expect rates to drop to 6% or below in 2024, including a Fannie Mae projection of 5.2%.

How high are mortgage rates expected to go? ›

While it expects the Fed to continue increasing rates to tame inflation, it believes that long-term rates have already peaked. “We expect that 30-year mortgage rates will end 2023 at 5.2%,” the organization noted in its forecast commentary. It reiterated the fourth-quarter 5.2% rate prediction in a Jan. 19 forecast.

Are mortgage rates expected to rise more? ›

Mortgage interest rates doubled in 2022, peaking at 7 percent in November. However, inflation has finally started to slow, and mortgage rates could continue to decrease. Some experts predict that fixed mortgage rates might dip back into the 5 percent range in 2023.

Is it better to buy a house when interest rates are high? ›

It's harder to qualify for a loan when interest rates are high, which means there will be fewer buyers competing for existing home inventory. Homes are staying on the market longer, which means you may be able to take more time to consider your choices and make a decision.

Will a recession drop mortgage rates? ›

And since mortgage interest rates are largely influenced by the overall state of the economy, they typically decrease during a recession.

Will mortgage rates ever go back to 3 percent? ›

But we're not going back to 3 percent anytime soon, because inflation is not going back to 2 percent anytime soon.” It's important to have a realistic vision for what you can expect this year, and that's where the advice of expert real estate advisors is critical.

What is the rate prediction for 2023? ›

Mortgage Rate Predictions for Spring 2023. Most forecasters say that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate will be at or slightly above 6% during the second quarter of 2023, which includes the spring months of April, May and June.

What will the mortgage interest rates be in June 2023? ›

Fannie Mae sees the average rate of a 30-year fixed getting to 6.8% in 2023. Meanwhile, the prediction from Freddie Mac is 6.4%. The Mortgage Bankers Association is the real outlier, projecting the 30-year rate at 5.2% next year.

What is prime rate today? ›

What Is the Current Prime Rate? As of March 22, 2023, the current prime rate is 8.00% in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal's Money Rates table.

What will 30 year mortgage rate be in 2025? ›

The Mortgage Bankers Association: The group expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will average 5.2% in 2023. In 2024 and 2025, mortgage rates could average 4.4%.


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